Young farmers and ranchers can strengthen the voice of agriculture

By Darrell and Lindsey Bowers

As Texas Farm Bureau Vice President David Stubblefield gave this year’s Young Farmer & Rancher Committee its charge, we started thinking about its importance and the personal impact that our involvement in Farm Bureau has had on our life.

As we have become more involved and we have a greater understanding of the Young Farmer & Rancher program, we always come back to the same question: “Why is it so hard to get people involved?” And then we think back to when our district committee chair started working on us to get us involved and how long it took us to finally make it a priority.

Our excuse for a year was always the same: “Something else is going on.” The something else was either the farm or our family, both always priority to everything else in life.

After serving on the committee for a year and enjoying the experiences we have had, we understand how Farm Bureau is serving our farm and our family and how we are making our farm and family a priority by participating. We had become so involved in our day-to-day that we hadn’t stepped back to see the big picture and thought not just about the success of our farm, but the success of agriculture and our role in that.

The success of agriculture depends on farmers and ranchers uniting our voices and speaking up to address our ever-changing needs and concerns. To unite our voices, we first have to work as one and this is where Farm Bureau plays a key role; they are providing us opportunities to come together. These opportunities come throughout the year in many different ways and levels of time commitments.

The programs that the Young Farmer & Rancher Committee develop focus on agriculture, but more importantly in building relationships with others who share the same passion for agriculture. We can tell you all about the places we have been, the tours we have taken, the speakers we have heard, but we can’t begin to explain the value of the friendships we have developed because of our decision to become involved.

The rewards that are present for going beyond the step of just being informed are invaluable, and we hope by sharing that we may have encouraged someone to take that next step. Please feel free to contact us, or the Young Farmer & Rancher Committee chair in your district, to learn more about the opportunities you have to strengthen the voice of agriculture.

And a final thought. In case you don’t know, here is the Young Farmer & Rancher Committee purpose:

“To recommend, promote, and evaluate programs and activities that will encourage young people to become involved in Texas Farm Bureau on a local and state basis. The committee is also responsible for identifying, evaluating and promoting programs and services that will assist young farmers and ranchers in Texas with the operation and management of their farming and ranching business.”

 

2 Responses to “Young farmers and ranchers can strengthen the voice of agriculture”

  1. Great Blog Darrell and Lindsey. Looking forward to the difference you will make on the YF&R Committee – and to Texas agriculture!

  2. Government can’t make a farmer — The nonprofit Center for Rural Affairs was established in 1973 to encourage and support family farms and rural communities.

    According to its press releases, they are for the “small farmers, especially minority, socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers and ranchers,” who may find getting loans difficult. It was touting micro loans of up to $35,000 for new farmers and ranchers, designed to help bolster family-run farms and ranches and to help military veterans seeking to start a farm or ranch.

    These small loans are to buy seeds, livestock, or equipment needed to get started farming and to help farmers grow “niche or organic crops to sell directly to ethnic and farmers markets, or contribute to community-supported agriculture programs.” That’s all well and good as far as it goes, but a farmer needs a lot more than a little start-up cash.

    Applicants for these loans must provide collateral worth at least 100 percent of the loan, so they would be at risk of losing their land when they discover there’s more to farming than planting seeds.

    Ironically, this message comes on the heels of an awesome Super Bowl commercial that puts farming into a proper perspective. I watched it because, from the moment the voice of legendary broadcaster Paul Harvey’s voice came on, I was transfixed.

    I had to hear more. It was a narrative about a farmer — a real farmer. I know, because my daddy was the consummate family farmer. I was delighted to hear that many others shared my appreciation for Harvey’s essay on the virtues of the American farmer.

    Harvey’s message began, delivered as only he could:

    “And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker.’

    “So God made a farmer.”

    Paraphrasing Harvey’s message, it continued: God needed someone to get up before dawn, work all day, and stay past midnight at a school board meeting. So He made a farmer.

    Somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt, only to watch it die. Then say, wait for next year. Somebody who can “make do,” and who, during planting and harvest season, will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon, then put in another 72 hours. Someone to work doubletime to get crops in ahead of rain, yet ready to stop to help a neighbor. Somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to tend newborn livestock. Someone to seed, weed, feed, breed, plow and plant, milk the cow, and finish a hard week’s work with a country drive to church.

    Someone to laugh, sigh, and reply with smiling eyes when his son says he wants to spend his life “doing what dad does.”

    God made a farmer.

    You can find the actual ad, sponsored by Dodge Ram Trucks, on farms.com. It’s beautiful and well worth watching. It shares American values of hard work and faith.

    Only God can make a farmer. A loan for $35,000 would hardly do the trick.

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